The Board of the Friends of the Palo Alto Museum and Zoo represents a cross-section of our community and has a passion for supporting the JMZ and its mission. Board Members work hard to promote the long-term sustainability of the organization and its vision for the future.
Sabah Mansoor is the founder and principal designer of Sabah Mansoor Design. Her career spans textiles, fashion design, decorative arts and interiors. In her free time, she loves to explore the Bay Area and travel with her husband and two children. As a family, they enjoy spending time at the JMZ where her son has become best friends with Edward the tortoise and loves feeding the flamingos. Her older daughter can often be seen trying to re-engineer the ball machine. Sabah lives in Atherton with her husband, children, and their beloved family dog.
Lauren is a community volunteer, former software engineer and President of the Friends of Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo. She graduated from Dartmouth College and MIT with degrees in computer science and was then a software engineer at Google. She enjoys rock climbing, biking and reading – with or without her four kids. When Lauren and her daughter participate in the Family Volunteer Program at the JMZ, their favorite place to be is the water table in the Dawn Redwood Courtyard because it’s a surefire way to connect with some of the youngest visitors.
Steve has three decades of experience in land use planning and urban development in Peninsula, South and East Bay cities. He served most recently as the City of Palo Alto’s Director of Community Environment and Deputy City Manager, until his retirement in 2013. Since then, he has operated the Palo Alto office of Lighthouse Public Affairs. He remains active in the community through volunteering with several service and non profit organizations. Steve and his wife have lived in Palo Alto since 1988, where they raised their son Alex.
Marshall has worked in the investment management world for the last 25 years, and is the President MRK Asset Management, LLC. He was born and raised in Palo Alto and attended the JMZ as a child. He has three sons, all of whom love the JMZ too. His focus with the Friends is in the areas of Development and Finance.
Wiley grew up in the Bay Area and visited the JMZ as a child. After studying Computer Science at Princeton, Wiley joined Blue Martini Software as an early engineer. He then worked in a variety of technical roles from sales engineer to CTO at a couple of Bay Area companies. Wiley now spends his time investing in companies and enjoys building “cool” maker-oriented projects himself and with students. Wiley also serves on the boards of Fit Kids and a local school. Wiley enjoys camping, snowboarding, hiking, tennis, pickleball, travel and spending time with his wife and two children. His favorite exhibit at the JMZ is the flamingo pond.
Carolyn is a CPA and tax partner with BPM, a large west coast public accounting firm. Originally from Arizona, she’s been a resident of Menlo Park for over 40 years now. In her spare time, she enjoys touring the neighborhood streets with her two huskies. As an animal lover, Carolyn’s favorite attraction at the JMZ is the recently expanded zoo. She is really looking forward to the arrival of the lemurs!
Annette is an attorney and was the founder of the law firm Bialson Bergen & Schwab. Once Annette reduced her legal workload, she served as a volunteer officer and board member at various civic and non-profit organizations including the Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission, League of California Cities, Palo Alto Community Fund, Avenidas and the Arthritis Foundation. Annette holds a BS from Penn State and a JD from Stanford University.
Rebecca is an educational therapist who currently has a private practice based in Menlo Park. She graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Education and later continued on to get her M.Ed. and Certificate in Educational Therapy. She worked in Bay Area schools for 8 years before opening her private practice. She has published a children’s book called Meet Stanley: The Reading Dog and also creates eco-friendly and educational coloring books called Color Me Kind Activity Books. In her free time, she loves to explore the Bay Area with her husband and three children. Nothing brings her more joy than seeing the JMZ through her kids’ eyes.
Brittany Brown Chavez
Growing up just a block away, Brittany has been visiting the JMZ for decades! As Chief Administrative Officer for Vance Brown Inc., the contractor responsible for building the new JMZ facilities, she is excited to see the next generation of JMZ enthusiasts explore the revived museum and zoo. Brittany loves to visit with her husband and three children--never missing a chance to say hello to Edward the Tortoise!
Aletha is a CPA, retired tax attorney, and has been a community volunteer for the past 35 years. She serves on the boards of The International School of the Peninsula, Verde Valley School, Avenidas, Self Help for the Elderly and The Christensen Fund. Born and raised in Honolulu, Aletha has a BA with honors in Medieval Studies from the University of Hawaii and a JD from Hastings College of Law. She has three adult children and three grandchildren. Her favorite JMZ animal is Sequoia the eagle.
Karin has spent her time in HR fascinated by people and teams, and is thrilled to be working with the Friends’ Access & Inclusion Committee. She holds business degrees from New York University and Wharton. Karin and her partner Dan co-authored a children’s book called Meet the Helicopters, satirizing overprotective parents. A native of Palo Alto, Karin and Dan now live back in town gardening, cooking, and diligently hovering over their four young children, all of whom adore the JMZ as much as Karin did growing up. She has a soft spot for the scarlet ibis.
Jill is a seasoned event planner and project manager with over 20 years in the industry. After culinary school and a degree from University of San Francisco, she started a career in restaurants and hotels and then became a wedding planner. After years of weddings, she transitioned to corporate events and remains as passionate about the industry as she was 20 years ago. Jill lives in Redwood City with her husband and two kids and loves being a mostly stay-at-home mom these days.
Gabriela is a strategic communications advisor, helping companies tell stories and build their brands. She previously led Branding & Communications at Houzz, the home renovation and design platform. Gabriela also serves on the board of the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation. She lives in Menlo Park with her husband and two children, one of whom hopes to be a zoologist one day.
Paul has been a sales and marketing executive in the digital infrastructure industry for over 20 years. He’s been on the Friends of the JMZ board since 2015 and was part of the team that helped to raise the funding to reimagine and rebuild the new facility. Paul has lived and worked in Palo Alto for two decades and is the proud father of two girls, who as younger kids spent countless hours playing and learning at the “old JMZ” and Zoo Camp in the summers. Paul is passionate about raptors and is a super-fan of Sequoia the bald eagle.
Nansi Xu Marsh
Evelyn Brosi Semenza
Evelyn is an education researcher, community volunteer and Vice President of the Friends of the JMZ. She graduated from Brown University with a joint degree in Public Policy and Sociology and an M.A. in Urban Education Policy. Evelyn managed evaluation work for a network of experiential learning schools in New York City, conducted research, and developed education policy guidance at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She loves to be outside working in the yard, playing sports or biking with her kids. At the JMZ, her kids spend a lot of time at the ball machine exhibit trying to maximize the number of balls in motion.
Kendra is a former science teacher in East Palo Alto and current doctoral candidate in science education. She graduated from the University of Washington and received a B.A. in Ethnic studies with a focus in African American studies. From there, she went on to earn an M.A. and teaching credential in science education from Stanford University, where she is currently a PhD student studying issues of access in science education and STEM access for Black girls and women. A proud resident of East Palo Alto, she loves family trips to Portland, exploring new food and attending sporting events for her nieces and nephews. Her favorite exhibit at the JMZ is the calm wall.
Chelsea is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with experience across financial services, tech, and higher education. She currently works in MBA Admissions at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Chelsea lives in Palo Alto with her husband and two kids. Their favorite animal friend at the Zoo is Apu the Peacock!
Meredith lives in Palo Alto with her husband and three young children. She is actively involved with the San Francisco Symphony, including the Concerts for Kids program and “Deck the Hall” children’s concert. In her free time she can be found playing tennis, pickleball, running, or baking. A trip to the JMZ always includes a visit to see Edward the Giant Tortoise and making moves at the digital kaleidoscope.